I have just received a response to the email I sent on facts about policing in the U.S. raising a question about “who” should be accepted as a guide to realities within the African American community or any other community for that matter?
Who, for example, speaks for white Americans, Hispanic Americans, the Chinese in Hong Kong, the religion of Islam, ad infinitum?
Jason Riley, whom I quoted in my cover note, wrote that in a commentary published by the Wall Street Journal. Riley’s views are different from those of many other African Americans. I am increasingly of the thought that we so often confront impasses when the perceptions of one culture – widely shared within that culture and arising from historical conditions – are foreign to those coming from another culture. The outsider is removed intellectually and emotionally from what seems so true and real to the insider. When we seek to become more aware of the “other,” a challenge is who speaks for a collective other, what texts, what artifacts express a core perception for that other?
I know of other African Americans who have the same general point of view as Riley and we all know from their public remarks and writings of notable African Americans who disagree with him.
In a way, the work of the Caux Round Table is to be between various “others,” both individual and group and through dialogue, seek to bring out what can be accepted and believed in by more than one tradition.